There are good games in which we can grab a team plus money with nothing to lose against a team in the hunt. We have that situation today with the Pirates vs. Reds.
When you look at the record of these two teams and the pitching matchup that seems rather even you would think the Pirates would be favored by more. There is a reason why they are not which gives me more motivation to back Cincinnati. Right now Cincinnati is a small plus money line underdog, but the best odds are at 5 Dimes at +103.
Francisco Liriano takes the mound for Pittsburgh with a 3.40 ERA, 1.20 whip, 168 strikeouts, and at 9-7 record. He has been a solid number two option for Pittsburgh this season but teams have got to him just a touch in his last five games allowing 15 earned runs total in four of them. On the road he has been sharp with a 2.67 ERA and batters hitting under .220 against him. In his last three starts on the road he has given up 23 hits and nine earned runs.
Pittsburgh ranks 14th in the major leagues in runs scored per game at 4.25, 15th in OPS at .720, and eighth in batting average hitting .260 as a team. All their major offensive statistics go down on the road and yesterday they only scored one run off a seven hits. I think they might struggle again today against a quality pitcher for Cincinnati.
Raisel Iglesias gets the start for Cincinnati and comes in with a 3.81 ERA, 1.10 whip, 97 strikeouts, and a 3-6 record. On his record alone one would think that the odds makers would favor the Pirates more, but this guy is a solid major league pitcher. In his last five starts he has allowed just nine earned runs total and at home he has a solid 2.87 ERA with batters hitting just .209 against him. In early August he faced the same Pittsburgh team in Cincinnati and allowed just two earned runs, but more importantly just four hits, in just over six innings. His hit totals in his last five games have been ridiculous allowing just 16 total hits in that span.
Cincinnati ranks 23rd in the major leagues in runs scored per game at 4.03, 18th and OPS at .715, and 21st in batting average hitting .250 as a team. They are one of the better home hitting teams in the National League as most of their statistics go well up in Cincinnati. For example, their batting average goes from .243 on the road to .259 at home and their OPS goes from .685 when traveling to .745 in Cincinnati.
Like I like to say sometimes it seems odds makers have shown their hand in this contest. Here we have a very good pitcher on the mound for Pittsburgh added to the fact they lost yesterday, and on top of all of that they are headed towards the playoffs. Yet they made this line with Pittsburgh only as a small favorite on the MLB odds board and it just doesn't look quite right to me. Iglesias has been extremely tough for Cincinnati these last several games and expect him to dominate the day. For your MLB picks I suggest adding the Cincinnati Reds on the small plus money line as your underdog play of the day.
MLB Pick: Reds +114 at Pinnacle